Hopping on the Bandwagon

So, last year, or it could have been earlier this year, my Instagram feed was chocca block with sewists singing the praises of the Toaster Sweater and the Saunio Cardigan.  It seemed every second person was sewing either one or both of these patterns.  I didn’t get it, and made a Talvikki instead!  However, I’m here to set things right.  The Toaster pattern eventually made its way into my pattern collection and now that I’ve finally made it up, I know what all the fuss was about!

There are a lot of pieces, which means it needs a little more fabric than it would if, for instance there was no separate hem band and double folded cuffs.  But it still only just needs 1.5m (all depending on how good you are at pattern piece tetris).  And it’s quick to make.  I start by pinning everything together that I can, the cuff seams, hem band side seam, back seam in the neck band and all the raglan shoulder seams, and feed them through the overlocker in a single long line.  After that it’s quick to turn things the right way out, fold along foldlines and pin in place.  It probably takes 2 hours, from starting to cut to the last finished stitch, quicker if you don’t topstitch the seams!

The reason why I reached for this pattern was a little post by Lesley (@sew_sleep_deprived) on Instagram.  She’d just purchased two fleece throws from Asda, and was going to make Toaster sweaters with them.  Good idea thinks me, quickly looking at Asda’s online offering of fleece throws.  They have Christmas fleece throws – CHRISTMAS JUMPERS!!  It took all of 2 seconds for me to decide I was going to follow her excellent example and get me some Christmas fleece throws!  Daughter No1 is addicted to anything Christmassy and the iconic Christmas jumper is right up her street!

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Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater

After hustling myself to the nearest Asda, I came away with a pack of two throws, one red with white dear and one plain cream.  After ripping out all of the coverstitch hemming all round the red throw I started looking at the off grain pattern and wonky cut edges.  Nothing lined up!  I decided to sacrifice the pattern being straight for the straight grain and proceeded to lay out my pieces.  It just all fits on, and that was the smallest size!

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All seams are topstitched with a twin needle

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But it’s so cute!  And warm!  It must be said that these fleece throws are 100% polyester and should be kept well away from open flames, Christmas candles etc!  Of course when Daughter No2 saw the finished result, she wanted one too.  She was happy to have the plain cream fleece, not being quite as wacky a dresser as her older sister!

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dsc_0006-01495468675.jpegAgain, the grain and the edges of the throw did not line up, but it wasn’t as bad as the red one so it was easier to get everything on and cut out.  She’s really happy with her new sweater, and I didn’t even need to lengthen the sleeves, a first, let me tell you!  She has asked me to make it slightly less baggy in the back for the next time, it might just be the fabric though.

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Only the cuffs, hem band and neck band were stitched on this version

So now it seems I have another TNT pattern, and have made another for Daughter No2 using a quilted navy jersey!  It was run up on Sunday at my sewing group.  This time, to make it less baggy I took in the side seams and made a very slight sway back adjustment.  We’ll have to see if it worked.  I love the fabric, again it’s 100% polyester though, but good colour!  I just hope it doesn’t pill.  I had hoped to cut two from the 2m length, but it wasn’t to be, so there’s enough for something else.  Maybe the padded neckline sweater from the previous post…

I love finding patterns I like the finished look of, and like to make!  It makes things quicker and I can almost picture my fabric in the pattern because I’ve used it so often!  I have a few TNT patterns, from trousers to jackets to tops, and if this post and the previous one are anything to go by, the Talvikki, Toaster and that padded neckline Burda top have joined the list!  I imagine it won’t be too long before she’s visiting from uni to collect the next instalment of additions to her winter wardrobe, there’s a coat toile waiting to be fitted…

 

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Silver Dream

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Burdastyle trousers and silk top

It’s good to be pushed out of your comfort zone sometimes.  I joined in with a Facebook Group sew-along that started in January where the challenge was to make 8 items using patterns already in your stash.  The idea, to look again at what you had bought and never got round to using.  Those poor patterns you buy on impulse because you like the cover, or you’ve seen someone online make it and you liked it but for some reason you just haven’t committed.

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It all came to an end at the end of April, and my 8th submitted item was these trousers.  The pattern is Burda 6689, I think I bought it about 3 years ago, intending to make Daughter No 1 a pair.  Needless to say we never got round to it, so it was the perfect pattern to finish off my collection of tops.  The fabric is from Fabric Godmother.  Thank goodness there wasn’t a stipulation that the fabric all had to come from the stash too, because I’d have lucked out here!!  Although, this is the only new piece I bought to complete the challenge.

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Gratuitous bum shot, you can still see the pockets through the fabric…

I initially toiled the 46, then realised, as usual, that it was too big.  After making the 44 the crotch depth had to be reduced by 1cm, crotch curves had to change (come closer to the body) and the back crotch scooped out a little more.  The crotch length in the back was decreased, bringing the waistband down about 1.5cm.  The inseams were taken in on the back only.  That seemed to work, the toile hung straight and there were minimal drag lines.  There was a hope that the final fabric, having more body than the toile fabric, would hang well and all would be good!

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The fabric itself is yummy, quite soft and subtle with a decent stretch.  However, I think it’s one of those fabrics that will lose colour on folded edges so although I ironed the front crease in well for the photos and first wear, I will not continue to do so.  I think I will end up with a nice pale line down the front of my pants.  I used a piece of left over Liberty city poplin for the pocket linings and inner waistband.  This stops the waistband stretching out of shape with wear.

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I love the back pockets, initially I wasn’t going to do them, but I’m glad I did.  I took my time over them, with the stretch fabric I didn’t want things going awry.  I basted and whipstitched and did all those things you’re supposed to do with proper pockets, rather than just whip my way though!  All the insides are overlocked, I could have French seamed the pockets but was worried about seeing the lines through the outer fabric.

 

(Click on the thumbnails to see full size images)

The finished trousers are pretty good.  I think I still need to work on the crotch depth/length though.  Might just be the fabric, during the day they definitely get baggier and looser around the bum area and I end up pulling the waistband up more.  The front still needs work too, that’s a job for the next pair.  Once I put them on I wasn’t so sure about the length!  I’ve been wearing floor skimming Birkin Flares all winter so these tapered pants floating high above my ankles feel a little funny.  So I unfolded the 3cm hem and dug out some wide bias tape.  I’ve attached the tape with a 5mm seam and used that for the hem.  So these pants are 2.5cm longer than they should be, I never thought I’d be lengthening a pair of Burda trousers for me!!!

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I love the colour of these pants, they go with just about everything in my wardrobe and can switch between casual and smart with ease.  If I don’t come up with anything else, I might even wear them to a wedding we have to go to in July.  I quite liked using only patterns from the stash, not including the Burda magazines, I didn’t think I had all that many – turns out there are plenty, and still some I haven’t used (let alone printed off or downloaded…..).  No more waste!!

For Me-Made-May this year I’ve decided to identify gaps in my handmade wardrobe and to finish them within the month, as well as to use more from my re-make/re-cut bag.  So we’ll see what I come up with!

 

 

Grey Shadows

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Last month’s sewing, planned, executed and only slightly delayed in being blogged and shown off!  Most of my plans have been to make more tops -for me.  My stash had a few pieces of grey viscose jersey, all slightly different shades, ever so slightly different in handle and weight too.  In addition to this, I’d got two grey fabrics in South Africa, one a knit with a texture in the knit.  So you could call this my shades of grey adventure, but I’m not going there….

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First up is a grey stripe viscose jersey knit from Croft Mill Fabrics, bought at the end of September.  I opted to make the Maria Denmark Birgitte, using the three quarter sleeve and v-neck option. This really is a quick pattern to make, about an hour or two of your afternoon should suffice.  My adjustments from the original pattern are simple, shorten the body by 3cm, and add an FBA.

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Next, the textured sweater knit.  I suspect this has a fairly large man-made fibre content, given how static it becomes with wear!  The pattern I chose is 107 from Burdastyle January 2015.  It has been on my to-make list for some time, one of those waiting for the perfect fabric, as always.  This might not be the perfect fabric, the pattern probably really needs something with a bit more body, but this is what I had and I wanted to use it up!

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I liked the shape, the neckline and the dropped shoulders.  The pattern itself is simple, only 3 pieces.  It promised to be another quick make!  Now, if you really want to make it quick, add hem allowances to the sleeves and body pieces, and make a facing for the neckline.  I wanted a contrast, both in texture and colour, so wanted to use the binding  to add detail.  I used some of the fabric left over from a previous (and again, unblogged) top.

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Perfect position for pretty pendants

It took a little while to get the binding on, but oh boy was it worth it!  It wasn’t tricky, just needed time and concentration.  I love the contrast and the way it highlights the curved detail on the sides and the neckline.  That neckline is perfect for showing off a pretty pendant.  I made this without any adjustments, deciding that there was enough ease in the pattern to make it fit, but completely ignoring the fact that the other half of the FBA adjustment still needed to be made.  What was that about concentration??

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Never mind, I have a cosy, comfy sweater I like to wear, and a stripy tee to wear under it!  My grey tee shirt adventure will continue, I finally made a Lark tee!!  That and more, next time, there might even be an update on the new list for March.

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On My Sewing Table 

Or, sewing plans interrupted and replaced with new, more exciting plans! At the beginning of March I made a list of the project I wanted to get through this month, using my free calendar/planner. Of the 7 planned projects I’ve done 2 & 2 are half way. But I’m not excited by them, they are just jobs to do. So I’ve got a new list!

Item one, the one that’s actually cut and in progress. I’ve wanted to make this top for a while and this weekend realised I already had the perfect fabric! The pattern is 105 from Burda magazine 2/2016. The fabric is silk satin and I’ve never seen anything quite like it before or since !

Item two is another top, this one from the original list, one of the half done projects because it’s been toiled and is ready to go. It’s Lekala 4286 & will  be made in a 70s polyester floral print with the biggest, brightest print  ever!

Item three is another Burda top, a pattern I’ve used before and really like. The fabric is cotton voile from Fabric Godmother about two years ago. Pattern is #138 8/2011.

Items four, five and six are culottes #104 2/2017! Following the success of the previous pair I found two pieces of fabric for daughter no1 and one for me!😇

Item seven uses this beautiful blue viscose I bought in Derby I think five years or so ago, time flies!! I’m making another Burda pattern, top #115B 8/2015, which is another that’s been on my list for a while.

And last, but by no means least, item eight is another top, another Burda pattern. This time it’s #103 from 2/2016, using a really pretty  bit of white broiderie anglaise that’s got a silver finish and grey jersey from the Fancy Silk Store in Birmingham.
So, enough to keep me busy for the next  ten  days?? 😉 Do you throw out your plans when things don’t really excite you enough to provide motivation to get them done? Or are you a good planner?

My Toasty Talvikki Sweater

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Talvikki sweater in quilted jersey

Sweater tops and sweatshirts have been all over my Instagram feed in the last couple of months, with loads and loads of Toaster sweaters dominating, just the way the Linden did  last year.  I bought the Talvikki sweater on its release with the Pulmu Pencil skirt to make for the daughters.  I figured this was the time to make the Talvikki for me, using the quilted navy jersey bought in South Africa when looking after my mum.

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According to the size table the 48/50 should be cut.  I checked the finished measurements and looked at others online before deciding it would be way too big on me, too baggy, and that was not a look I wanted.  So I cut the size smaller and it seems to have worked!  This particular version is straight from the pattern, I’ve changed nothing.

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The darts look fabulous radiating from the raised neckline and I love the hemline with split side seams.  The instructions are dead simple and the sweater makes up pretty quickly too.  I used the overlocker for all the construction, and twin needled the hems.

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Changes to be made next time…  If I find another lovely fabric to make another version there are two things I’d change.  The neckline on me is too narrow for the height, it could do with being 3-4 cm wider to be properly comfortable on me.  Then there is the length of the sleeves.  They’re a little too long for me, for now I’ve just turned them up like the model has in the photos (this should have been a hint..)  I will be taking my seam ripper to the hem stitching and shortening the sleeve by 3cm.  Unfortunately I forgot that I’d turned up the cuffs on the sleeves when these photos were taken!

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But there will be another one, I really like wearing my Talvikki sweater and have had compliments from friends and family which is always nice.  In fact, I’ve worn it so much that the fabric is starting to pill – not nice.  Now to find suitable fabric, but it won’t come from the stash, there’s nothing in there that’s suitable.  I’ve got a couple of tops to make next, and a pair of Morgan jeans that’s been sitting on my cutting table since the pattern came out.  I’ve got a lot to catch up on from last year!

 

Wardrobe Architect Plans Continue

Last Saturday was the Sew Brum event, a meet-up of a number of sewing bloggers in Birmingham.  I decided last minute – as you do – to have something new for the occasion.  And I mean last minute.  I had a new haircut on Tuesday, traced a pair of Burda trousers on Wednesday, had various interruptions & only managed to finish them on Friday morning.  I also started to patterncut a new blouse on Thursday morning.  Something had to give & unfortunately it was the top.

Trousers 143 from Burdastyle 2/2013
Trousers 143 from Burdastyle 2/2013

But first – the item I did manage to finish to wear to the meet-up.  Typically with no spare time, I picked a pattern I’d not used before & haven’t toiled.  I chose a pair of trousers from February 2013 Burdastyle magazine, number 143. The pattern has a slightly dropped, shaped waistband, front fly, hip yoke pockets and cuffs on a slight bootcut shape leg.

This is one the Curvy Collective could add to their list to try out.  It’s a plus size pattern & I traced the 44-48.  I don’t have much waist definition, going straight up from the hip, so I made sure I had enough sizes to grade up.  As it was, I used the 44 on the leg up to the hip line & graded up to the 46 from hip up to the waistband.  It’s a trifle snug because of the lack of stretch, but I’m satisfied with the result.  At least I know they won’t be falling down during the day!

I had to shorten the pattern by 4cm.  The finished length was to be 108cm, which I thought would be ok on me, but when I pinned the cuffs in place they dragged on the floor- not a good look for winter trousers!  I had to chop off the hem turn of the cuffs & reposition them, but now I’ve shortened the paper pattern by the requisite amount so next time will be all good.  I really like the shape of the trousers on me, considering I normally go for wide swooshy ones!  But that style doesn’t work in the winter, I needed a more fitted, shorter style.  I will use this pattern again, but I have my eye on two others to try too.

DSC09948-1The fabric is from Croft Mill, a two tone tiny herringbone cotton chino-type fabric with no stretch.  It has great body and is well suited to the style of trouser I chose – but this is one of those fabrics that creases badly in the washing machine, and then leaves the evidence of that creasing in the loss of colour.  It’s a real shame because now the trousers look like they constantly need an iron.  I’ll leave it for a little while, but I feel I’m going to need to get the dye out, which will lose me those teeny tiny herringbones.

Cuffs & hip yoke pockets lined with grey satin
Cuffs & hip yoke pockets lined with grey satin

I bound the inner waistband edge with the left overs of the lilac bias binding from Daughter No2’s vintage jacket & used a grey satin for the pocket bags.  As I was in a rush I simply zig-zagged the seam allowances.  Not the most perfect finish, but it does the job.

DSC09958-1The top I completed this week, yesterday in fact.  It’s sort of my contribution towards the Sewcialists’ Scraptember challenge, even though it was only dreamt up & made now in early October. I had some left over black & white spot silk de chine form a blouse I’d made a few years ago and loved to bits.  Literally.  I wore it until it fell apart.  The fabric has such a fabulously luxurious feel and the way it flows and drapes while you wear it is just beautiful.  Anyway, I’d kept the bits, because they were big enough for something, just not an entire new something.  Then by chance I found more of the same stuff in Fred Winters in Stratford on Avon!  Perfect!  I bought a metre and immediately hatched a plan.

Self-drafted silk crepe de chine faux placket blouse
Self-drafted silk crepe de chine faux placket blouse

I wanted something similar to the original top, but also wanted to do a twist on a traditional placket.  My go-to length for sleeves is three-quarters and I do love the sleeve I developed for my Jungle January blouse.  I cut the sleeves, cuffs & neckbands from the silk I had left over and cut the front, back & placket from the new piece.

Close-up of the neck-band & faux placket
Close-up of the neck-band & faux placket

The collar is more of a neckband, and the placket more like a facing sewn on the wrong side & turned to the right side & topstitched in place.  The bust dart was moved to the underarm position & I took a little of the waist darts out in the side seam so it wasn’t too tent-like.  Construction was pretty straightforward, French seams throughout, double turned dipped at the back hem.  I used Gill Arnold’s fine sheer fusible interfacing on the outer neckband, placket & cuffs.  The interfacing was definitely needed on the placket to keep it under control for the turning under of the seam allowances!

DSC09968-1I’m in love with the result!  Ok, so maybe a thin light silk top is not really a practical make for October, but I could wear a vest top underneath for added warmth.  The biggest advantage is that it’s done! Another top that fits my requirements and uses the fabric in the boxes.  Even if it does mean I had to buy a little to complete the project.  And yes, its more spots 🙂  What can I say, I feel overwhelmed by most patterns, but checks, stripes & spots I can live with.  So far this year I’ve made 4 blouses with definite spots/circles & two with variations on the theme.  Oh, and one tee, not blogged.  There is still another silk satin in the stash box with my name on it – spotted, of course! We’ll have to see what I decide to make next but I have plans to make another two pairs of trousers.

I bought a stone coloured cotton twill & a gold-sand colour stretch cotton chino from Croft Mill fabrics earlier in the year for winter trousers & I’m thinking of using 118 from Burdastyle 08/2013 for the gold & 134 from Burdastyle 04/2012 for the stone.  Just to get them traced & toiled first…

These are all resulting from my work on the Wardrobe Architect project.  Have any of you been using yours much to further your wardrobes this year?

It’s Atomic!

Sliding over the end of the month with a couple of days to spare, I have a third entry for the Sewing Double challenge from the Monthly Stitch!  It also only just qualifies as a #Sewcialist project too.  April was the month to sew with pink, but as that colour doesn’t present itself around this house very often, a light blush sort of pink will have to do!

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The fabric used is one of the pieces I got my husband to buy me from John Lewis in January.  I was determined it would not end up in the silk stash box, so the two pieces have been languishing on my sewing table, taunting me into making them up!

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Trying to look model-like in the gardens at Upton House with a whole bus load of tourists coming up the path!

I didn’t use a self drafted pattern for this fabric – it’s a well used, tried & tested Burdastyle one.  Style 138 from August 2011 has been made 4 times already, and I do love the shape & of course, the sleeves!  🙂  I also love how quickly it can be made, even when French seaming the entire thing.

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I only made two alterations – one is the length.  The pattern in the magazine is 10cm longer.  There is no reason to exaggerate my short legs, so I lopped that off the paper pattern when I made the first one & have stuck to the revised length.

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The other alteration was not to have the bias-trimmed opening at the back neck.  The neckline is wide enough to pull over your head without it, but I did keep the separate back yoke with rouleau loops because I’d found the perfect vintage glass pearl buttons in the button basket at a charity shop!

So that’s one more top in my wardrobe – a coloured (slightly) and printed one to boot!  I have spent some time developing a couple of patterns, they await a toile and all that jazz, but I am hopeful for them.  I also made a pattern for a dress for Daughter No1, but left it until the day before she was to go back to Uni, so while the dress is now finished, I cannot show you it on her!  I can show you a little bit…

Sketch for a 50s inspired wiggle dress & the fabric - stashbusting!
Sketch for a 50s inspired wiggle dress & the fabric – stashbusting!

I really must get cracking on those toiles, but I got inspired by a mad print in my stash box & decided to do a little vintage sewing with it.  You’ll have to see Vintage Belle to see what I’m up to!

For those of you interested in seeing the other versions of the Burdastyle top 138, here are the links:

Green & Black – the first version

Dotty Spotty top

Liberty Silk top

Cool Swap Blouse